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Anna Karenina Tolstoy, Leo/ May, Nadia (NRT)|Tolstoy, Leo Nikolayevich 1 of 1
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Learn more about Anna Karenina:

Format:  CD
ISBN-10: 0786189576
ISBN-13: 9780786189571
Sku: 36498889
Publish Date: 12/1/2004
Dimensions:  (in Inches) 7.5H x 5.5L x 0.25T
Age Range:  NA
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Annotation:
Tolstoy's great novel, one of his last works of fiction, tells the story of a harmless flirtation that gradually develops into a destructive passion: the love affair between Anna Karenina and Count Vronsky. Anna turns to Vronsky, a dashing military man, as a refuge from her passionless marriage to a pompous, chilly bureaucrat--a move that results in social ostracization, the loss of her position in the world, and the relentless self-doubt that destroys her confidence and leads to her sad end. A parallel plot follows the contrasting fortunes of Levin (Tolstoy's alter ego, with his deep love of the land) and Kitty, whose marriage thrives and prospers because of mutual commitment, sympathy, and respect. In ANNA KARENINA, Tolstoy reaches deep into his own experiences and his observations of family and friends to create a picture of Russian society that reaches from the high life in St. Petersburg and Moscow to the idyllic rural existence of Kitty and Levin. Sketched on a smaller canvas than the vast panorama of WAR AND PEACE, ANNA KARENINA is a profound examination of human psychology. At its heart is its heroine, the flawed, vulnerable, lovable Anna--a woman whom Tolstoy never judges adversely, despite her follies, but whom he views with compassionate understanding throughout. Published two decades after Flaubert's groundbreaking MADAME BOVARY, Tolstoy's novel is a further exploration of adultery and its effects not only on individuals but on the society at large. Vladimir Nabokov called it "one of the greatest love stories in world literature," a view that has been echoed by critics since its publication in the 1870s.
Author Bio
Leo Tolstoy
The fourth son of a gentleman farmer, Tolstoy was born on the family estate, Yasnaya Polyana, which he later inherited and where he lived much of his life. His mother, the Princess Marya Nicolayevna Volkonsky, died in childbirth when Leo was 2 years old; his father died seven years later. Tolstoy and his brother were cared for by tutors and various relatives, settling finally with an aunt in the city of Kazan in 1841. He studied Oriental languages at Kazan University for a year, but left to travel and educate himself, eventually learning Greek, Hebrew, German, French, and English, and becoming immersed in the works of Rousseau and other moral philosophers. For a time, he also traveled widely and mingled with the Russian aristocracy (Tolstoy himself was a count) until, disillusioned with society, he joined the army. This too proved unsatisfactory, but the experience of war was invaluable to him in his later depiction of the Battle of Austerlitz in WAR AND PEACE. He turned from the army to the management of his estate, devoting himself to improving the lot of the peasants who worked for him. He was particularly interested in educating them, and built a school for the purpose. (He also made his own shoes.) In 1862, when Tolstoy was 34, he married an 18-year-old girl, Sofia Andreyevna Bers, with whom he eventually had 13 children. He had already begun to write, but the stability of his life after marriage enabled him to produce his two masterpieces, WAR AND PEACE (1865-69) and ANNA KARENINA (1875-77). As he grew older, Tolstoy's interest in social issues intensified, and he wrote several vehement tracts attacking such institutions as the church and the army. He also became intensely preoccupied with the problem of finding meaning in a life that is doomed to end in death--a question that preoccupied him in the 1870s, during which time he was often suicidal. This tormented period (which he described in his 1882 CONFESSION) ended only when in 1878 he became a devout Christian. It was at this point that Tolstoy became a proselytizer for pacificism, vegetarianism, and abstention from alcohol and tobacco, and advocated the abolition of war and capital punishment. All this time he continued to write fiction, but his main interests were his essays and polemics--for which he was excommunicated from the Russian Orthodox Church in 1901. Toward the end of his life, Tolstoy was plagued by ill health, conflicts with his wife, and his own fame and wealth. In November 1910, at the age of 82, he fled Yasnaya Polyana for the Caucasus, where he hoped to find peace, but died en route of pneumonia at a remote railway junction. Called by his contemporary Turgenev "the great writer of the Russian land," Tolstoy not only produced monumental works of fiction, but changed the novel forever, combining the social history of his time with deep psychological insight into character and an appreciation for the lives of common people. WAR AND PEACE is widely--and justly--considered the greatest novel ever written.

Praise

Harper's
"What is at the core...of 'Anna Karenina'? It is Tolstoy's concept of the heart at war with the structure of society....The characters' electrifying irrational acts are the acts of the heart brought to a desperate edge by the pressure of society." - Tom Wolfe 11/1989

(unknown)
"I consider 'Anna Karenin' the supreme masterpiece of nineteenth century literature; it is closely followed by 'The Death of Ivan Ilyich'." - Vladimir Nabokov

Product Attributes

Product attributeeBooks:   Kobo
Product attributeBook Format:   Audio Cassette - Unabridged
Product attributePublisher:   Blackstone Audiobooks
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